Regular readers will know I frequently bemoan the fact that - where I live in England (and I believe in many other parts of the world) - most of the audiences for traditional jazz concerts consist of people aged 75 and above.
The musicians, too, are mostly in that same age category.
It is no surprise that we see the audiences gradually dwindling; and the bands struggling to survive as the musicians retire or die. Venues and festivals are not as numerous as they once were.
However, one of my optimistic musician friends recently made an interesting point in a discussion with me. I think it is worth passing on.
He claims to have noticed that quite a few people, after retiring from their jobs, look for ways of keeping themselves amused and entertained in their retirement. Some of them discover - to their surprise - that traditional jazz bands are playing lunchtime concerts in pubs near where they live. After giving the music a try, they find they very much enjoy going out for a pub lunch with such musical entertainment. Still aged in their 60s, they become 'regulars', replacing the older disappearing members of the audience.
I hope my friend is right. I go to four or five pub lunchtime sessions every month and I must say I too have met just a few people in this 'new audience' category.
Of course, there is still the problem that we also need to maintain the supply of musicians, but perhaps there are also some promising amateurs who will soon retire from their day jobs and think about taking up traditional jazz playing as a hobby.